With Copper River salmon in season for the next few weeks, it's a great time to celebrate the fish — known for its firm red, Omega 3 oil-loaded flesh and rich, almost nutty flavor.
Named for the 300-hundred-mile-long river in Alaska that's home to particularly flavorful salmon, the Copper River season is a short and noteworthy one. Though there is no set date for the season ending, Copper River kings are usually done by mid-June, giving us only a week or so more to enjoy them. Copper River sockeyes will be around a while longer, usually until the end of July.
Here are seven recipes that explore salmon's terrific qualities, all of which you can get on the table in under an hour.
Chipotle roasted salmon: Salmon quickly picks up the flavors of this chipotle marinade, the fiery chiles married with tequila, a touch of sesame, and fresh notes of garlic, cilantro and green onion. Simply spoon the marinade over the fish and let it sit while the oven heats up, then roast for 12 to 15 minutes until done.
Salmon and corn chowder: This quick chowder makes use of leftover salmon, tossing the flaked fish in at the end to round out the flavors of bacon and freshly toasted corn. Start to finish, it's ready in 45 minutes.
Oven-steamed salmon with dill mayonnaise: If you're looking for easy, it doesn't get much better than oven-steamed salmon, according to Food columnist Russ Parsons. With his recipe, you simply steam salmon on a baking sheet in a 250-degree oven over a baking pan filled with boiling water. The salmon is ready in about 20 minutes, when the fish just begins to flake. While it's cooking, whisk together a quick dill mayonnaise (mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, fresh chopped dill and shallots and a little lemon juice), and you're good to go.
Salmon bisque: This rich and creamy soup is from Robin's Restaurant in Cambria. Butter, leeks, mushrooms and garlic form the base to this soup, layered with crushed tomatoes, chopped fresh herbs and cubes of fresh salmon. The salmon cooks in just minutes, the fragrant soup thickened at the end with cream. Yes, it's that easy.
Roasted salmon with red pepper hazelnut pesto: Roasted red peppers are a perfect smoky base for this rustic sauce, brightened with a little lemon and dotted with fresh chopped chives. But it's the toasted hazelnuts that take this pesto to another level. Enticingly fragrant, they lend a wonderfully rich depth to the finished sauce. We loved this pesto served over roasted salmon, though it would pair equally well with other fish, poultry or roasted vegetables.
Smoked salmon hash: Hash is a great option when you want something simple — it's one-pan comfort food. In this take, combine cold-smoked salmon with butter-crisped Yukon gold potatoes, red onion, capers, fresh herbs and hints of horseradish and mustard, and serve alongside tangy creme fraiche.
Peruvian salmon ceviche: Bright and fresh, this colorful ceviche is at once a little sweet, tangy and spicy. It makes for a perfect light meal or substantial first course. You can find the recipe below.
PERUVIAN SALMON CEVICHE
Total time: 30 minutes, plus chilling time | Serves 2 to 4
Note: Adapted from Marinitas in San Anselmo, Calif. The restaurant recommends serving the ceviche with diced avocado and tortilla chips or totopos. Because salmon sometimes carry parasites, it's always best to freeze it for 30 minutes before completing the recipe if you're going to serve it raw.
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons ground chile arbol
3/4 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup lemon juice
In a small sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and sauté until aromatic, then remove the pan from heat. Stir in the chile arbol. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then whisk in the agave syrup and lemon juice. Set aside. This makes more chile water than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the mixture can be used as a marinade and will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week.
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
12 ounces sushi-grade salmon fillet, ½ inch thick, preferable from the belly
2 to 3 tablespoons oil
1 large navel orange, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
2 tablespoons of finely diced serrano chiles with seeds, or to taste
1/4 cup finely diced red onions
1/4 cup aji amarillo purée, or to taste
3/4 cup Chile Water
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup minced green onions
Salt and pepper
1. In a small bowl, stir together the salt, pepper, cumin and coriander. Pat the spice blend all over the salmon fillet.
2. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the oil and sear the salmon quickly on both sides. Remove the salmon and set aside until cool enough to cut. Dice the cooled fillet into cubes one-third to one-half inch thick and refrigerate until chilled.
3. In a large bowl, combine the diced salmon with the orange, serrano chiles, red onion, aji amarillo purée, chile water, cilantro and green onions. Taste and season if desired with salt and pepper.
Each of four servings: Calories 476; protein 19 grams; carbohydrates 36 grams; fiber 2 grams; fat 30 grams; saturated fat 4 grams; cholesterol 47 mg; sugar 30 grams; sodium 967 mg